If you have moved to a new house and are faced with a bare plot or an established garden that you want to make your own there are a number of essential steps to take before you can start gardening proper. These start with taking a good look to see what is there and where there are existing plants making a record. Many of the steps may seem obvious, but this is a useful aide memoire which comes from an article by Susan Tweit which I found on the Houzz website.
You?ve moved to a new place, and you?re already imagining what you?re going to do to improve the outdoor space. Maybe it?s a new development, offering a blank canvas, or perhaps it?s already been landscaped. Here are ideas to help you bring your gardening aesthetic to the new space in a way that works with the site, its existing design and any established plantings, and won?t cost an arm and a leg.
You can work through some or all of these steps on your own, but you may want to work with a landscape professional, someone who can help you identify what you need for your ideas to come to life and can pull your ideas together into a coherent plan.
1. Observe. Put down that spade and rototiller. Before you do anything major, take the time to see what you?ve got to work with. Live with the place through at least a growing season if you can, giving yourself enough time to discover what?s already there. The daffodils in this photo, for instance, appeared as a surprise in an untended bed the spring after I moved to my current house in northern Wyoming, with a yard that had basically been abandoned for a decade or two.
Fortunately I am not someone who tidies or improves first and asks questions later. If I had turned the bed and planted before their leaves appeared, I might have spaded up the daffodils and missed their cheerful yellow blooms. I also would not have been able to incorporate them into the new garden design.2. Identify and inventory. Take photos and make notes. Identify and label everything you can, either using plant tags and stakes or drawing a yard plan and noting what grows where.
If you can?t identify something using the abundant resources available online, go the old-fashioned route and talk to neighbors or take photos to a local nursery or garden club. That?s how I learned the variety of the heritage peony that grew in my former home. It had popped up as a bonus after I planted a rhubarb clump I dug up from a friend?s garden; the peony tuber had come with it.